Friday, July 27, 2012

Things to Do After Your Tummy Tuck

Once you have completely healed from your tummy tuck, there are some things you can do to make sure your results are not temporary. The way you treat your body after your operation will do a lot to determine what shape and condition your stomach and abdomen are going to be in. In addition to eating properly, you also need to establish a good exercise routine.
Remember the trouble you had getting rid of that stubborn belly fat and love handles? Just because you had trouble before your tummy tuck, doesn't mean that you will have trouble keeping the fat off. Now is the perfect time for you to find a personal trainer or join a gym. A trainer will come up with a personal fitness plan that will help keep you in shape. They can also provide you with motivation to keep you focused on keeping your new figure toned up. If you don't want to hire a trainer or commit to a gym, you can also do some activities that will help you stay fit. Take early morning or lunch break walks. If you find walking too slow, try jogging with some music instead. Even if you don't have much time to commit to exercising, investing as little as fifteen minutes per day can do wonders for your body.
Become more social. Many studies show that people who tend to be more outgoing and social have less trouble when it comes to battling the battle of the bulge. The more involved you are in social groups and activities, the more likely you are to be physically active and stay in shape. Look online or in your local newspaper for events that interest you. This is a great way for you to meet new people, make new friends and become more socially involved and active.
Participate in sports. You don't have to be a professional player in order to reap the benefits of playing sports. By participating in sports, you are increasing your body's metabolism, which in turn increases the amount of fat your body will burn. Once you jump-start your fat burning system, you won't have to work so hard to keep the pounds and extra weight off. If you weren't too active before your tummy tuck, start off with low impact sports. You don't want to end up with any sports related injuries. Don't forget to stretch properly before you start any activities.
Invest in clothes that will make you feel good about yourself. The better you feel about your appearance the more likely you are going to work hard to maintain it. Don't take for granted the fact that you had a tummy tuck in the past. That doesn't always mean that you would be a good candidate for one in the future. Remember, the tummy tuck procedure is not to be used in place of losing weight by more conventional methods.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Getting Gout on the Run

Amongst other diseases which have been exponentially on the rise in the past few years, gout has bloomed in the past twenty years and continues to afflict people of all ages and both sexes. So, it's not a surprise if you're suffering from this disease-but it's definitely painful and very difficult to live with, not to mention that if left untreated, it can lead to heart disease, diabetes and even death. It is caused by the deposition of uric acid crystals in joints, particularly those of the feet, which leads to acute pain and swelling. Although it may start from the big toe, it can progress to the rest of the foot and even the knee.
Home remedies for gout, at least in the early stages, can not only provide symptomatic relief, but also cure for gout. It's important to remember that when this form of arthritis affects multiple joints, one shouldn't rely on home remedies alone and, in consultation with your doctor, use them in conjunction with allopathic treatments. Nonetheless, there are a lot of people who put these home remedies to use and testify to their usefulness, and it's possible that they work in the same manner for you.
A very popular and effective home remedy, which has been endorsed by health professionals as well, is that of fresh cherries. Both sour and sweet cherries are beneficial in curing gout as they contain anthocyanins, which are antioxidants and relieve the inflammation in the joints. You should go for fresh cherries, because canned or stored cherries are likely to negate the positive effects of their natural anthocyanins. Apples are also great for gout as they contain malic acid which combats with the build-up of uric acid in the joints. A less enjoyable remedy, which you'd probably not want to go for, is to consume juice of raw vegetables. Vegetables like beetroot, carrots and cucumbers are a great way to 'detox' the uric acid, and if you're up for it the juice should be consumed once a day. Other than fruits and vegetables, vitamin C should also be consumed as research shows that it is very important for lowering blood uric acid levels.
Of course, where medication and home remedies might successfully get rid of your gout, they're no substitute for a healthy, safe lifestyle. There are many trigger foods and behaviors which should be avoided if you want to stay away from it, because it's no laughing matter. Generally, for gout it's important to maintain an ideal weight. Overweight people are a much higher risk for gout. However, one should not attempt to lose weight through very low-calorie diets or fasting, because both of those are equally contributive in uric acid levels. It's also important to consume a low-fat diet, with minimal meat and seafood as they contain high levels of purines which contribute to gout. Alcohol should also be avoided and consumed in moderation as it triggers high levels of uric acid which can then get deposited in the joints. With these little changes, you'll see a big difference in your health.

Friday, July 13, 2012

The Role of the Small Intestine in Digestion

The small intestine is the grand central of the digestive system. Most of the real digestive process happens here.
Most of the protein, fat and carbohydrate breakdown happens within the small intestine. Most of the nutrient absorption also happens here. It is roughly 22 feet long, muscular tube that sits between the stomach and the large intestine.
The small intestine connects to stomach through a muscle called the pylorus. This connection is the pyloric valve. Whenever small intestine is not busy with digestion, stomach releases chyme through the pyloric valve.
Small intestine works with liver, pancreas and gallbladder for digestion. There are digestive enzymes that secrete within its wall. But the digestive enzymes from liver, gallbladder and pancreas are also delivered here to help with digestion.
The liver sends bile to the gallbladder through the hepatic ducts for storage and concentration. Pancreas delivers pancreatic enzymes into the small intestine through the pancreatic duct. The gallbladder is connected to the pancreatic duct through the cystic duct and delivers concentrated bile.
The small intestine has three major parts, duodenum, jejunum and ileum. Duodenum is a Latin word and it means 12 fingers. It is about 10 inches long. Jejunum is also a Latin word and it mean empty at death. It is about 6 to 8 feet long. And the ileum is the last part, which could be up to 11 and a half feet long.
Chyme is partially digested stomach content. Stomach squirts chyme into the duodenum - the first part of the small intestine. The liver and gallbladder deliver bile through ducts to the duodenum. Pancreas delivers a very complex mix of enzymes through the pancreatic duct into the duodenum.
Pancreatic enzymes include alkalis such as bicarbonates, which neutralize the stomach acid. Besides alkalis, pancreas secretes 15 different enzymes that work on three major food components carbohydrates, fats and proteins.
The enzymes in the small intestine carry out two stage enzymatic breakdown of the nutrients. Complex nutrient molecules are first decomposed into less complex molecules and later less complex molecules are broken into most basic forms.
Bile salts emulsify large fat droplets and create an emulsion of tiny fat droplets. Thus increasing the surface area for enzyme action.
Pancreatic amylase converts long chain carbohydrates like starch into disaccharides (two molecule sugars) - mainly maltose sugar. Pancreatic lipase works on small fat droplets and converts triglycerides into monoglycerides and fatty acids. The pancreatic protease enzyme breaks down protein into short chain peptide and amino acids.
Remaining of the small intestine - jejunum and ileum - is the site for the last breakdown of the food and its absorption into the blood and lymphatic fluids. The bile and the pancreatic juices continue to work within jejunum and ileum, although intestinal wall also releases few enzymes.
The enzymes work within the lining cells and on their surface. These enzymes include lactase and maltase, which work on disaccharide carbohydrates and convert them into simple sugars like glucose and galactose. Intestinal peptidases convert short peptide chains into their sub-units amino acids.
This way, finally carbohydrates turn into simple sugars, the proteins turn into amino acids and fats turn to monoglycerides and fatty acids. These are the simplest form of molecules, easily absorbed into the blood stream.
Finger-like villi of the small intestine lining give a large area for absorption of nutrients resulting from digestion. Through the surface of the villi, nutrients enter into the blood stream.

Friday, July 6, 2012

Basics of Human Digestion

We all have a very good idea about digestion. Let's revisit the basics. Digestion is the process of separating out the nutrients from the food and absorbing them into our body.
The human body is designed to keep up its normal functioning. In other words, the body tries to fight off sickness. Lots of under the hood activities happen inside the body to fight off sickness. Nutrients are needed for such maintenance. The body gets nutrition through the process of digestion.
Digestion happens along the digestive tract. The human digestive tract is very much a long passageway. Digestion is a two-step process.
First step is to crush the food into smallest possible particles. The aim is to expose the largest possible surface area of the food. This way the most amount of nutrition is available.
Second step is to mix crushed food with digestive enzymes. These enzymes break down the complex nutrient molecules into simpler molecules. That way nutrient molecules are easily absorbed within the digestive tract wall. Later on, nutrients are transported into the bloodstream.
The digestive tract has four main components. Mouth and throat are the first part of the digestive system. Esophagus joins the throat with the stomach. Esophagus along with stomach is the next part of the digestive tract. Small intestine, liver, pancreas and gall bladder form the hub of the digestive system.
Main digestive activities take place in the small intestine with the help of enzymes from liver, pancreas and gall bladder. Last part of the digestive tract is the large intestine. Bacteria ferment the remaining food in the large intestine.
Food is crushed and ground in the mouth with the help of teeth. Teeth are the hardest substance in the body. Strong jaw bones help crushing and grinding the food. The stomach has strong muscles, which vigorously churn and mix the food. Rhythmic muscular action - referred to as peristalsis - ensures that food keeps traveling along the digestive passageway.
As you can imagine, it is easy to crush soft and moist food compared to hard and dry food. There is either saliva or mucus present all along the digestive tract. This keeps food soft and moist.
There are different types of glands secreting different types of enzymes all along the digestive tract. Enzymes help the breakdown of protein, carbohydrates and fats in the food.
One unique feature of digestive tract is that within the stomach and small intestine the internal lining has a fold like structure which provides for extra surface for nutrient absorption.
On top of this fold like internal linings, there is hair like structure called villi. They give an extra absorption area in addition to the folds. This way digestive tract ensures that there is plenty of surface area and opportunities for nutrient absorption along the passageway.
Muscular action keeps the food moving along the tract at the proper rate. Food should not get stuck along the path. As blockage would prevent nutrient absorption. Similarly if food passes too fast, the body would miss the chance at separating most amount of nutrition.
There are control mechanisms for regulating the food flow. For example stomach can stop the pyloric valve (a valve between the stomach and small intestine) and act as a storage unit if it finds out that the small intestine is very busy with the digestive process.
You might wonder what controls various processes, such as muscle movement and enzyme release. Autonomic nervous system controls most of the muscular movements and some of the enzyme release mechanisms. This means they are pretty much involuntary. One can not wish and stop the food moving through esophagus or intestine!
The nervous system will decide what is the correct action for muscular movement. Presence or appearance of undigested food at various points along the digestive tract controls much of the enzymatic release. For example, the undigested protein in the stomach would trigger release of protein digesting enzymes in the stomach and small intestine.
Enzymes also play a key role in conveying messages to the nervous system about when stomach is full and one should stop eating more. We should eat slowly and give enough time for this messaging to take place. That way we could receive natural stomach 'full' signals and voluntarily stop eating!
As food passes along the digestive tract, it has different names. Chewed food in the mouth is called bolus. Bolus also travels through esophagus and reaches stomach. It is called chyme as it leaves the stomach. At this stage it is thoroughly mixed, partially digested and mixed with stomach acids and enzymes. By the time it reaches the end of the large intestine, it becomes feces.
Our digestive tract is a very busy system. It is essential for our survival.